There are a handful of multi-use products to have in your home (looking at you, vinegar!), but I’ve gotta say, it’s hard to beat baking soda. One box gives you an endless list of possibilities. You can use it to absorb odors, remove self-tanner streaks, clean your home… and believe it or not, that’s just the beginning of the ways to use baking soda.
If you have the pantry staple on hand, experiment with some of the best uses below. No matter which type of issue you’re having, there’s a good chance baking soda can solve it.
Your A-to-Z list of ways to use baking soda
Absorb toilet odors
Is your toilet smelling a little… pungent? Grab the baking soda. According to Marilee Nelson, co-founder of non-toxic cleaning brand Branch Basics, all you need to do is sprinkle a cup around the inside of the toilet and leave it for an hour before flushing. Not only does it clean your toilet, but it also removes the odor.
If you want silky-smooth bedsheets, put your sheets in the washing machine with a cup of baking soda and a half cup of vinegar. After running a full cycle and tossing them in the dryer, they’ll come out feeling ridiculously soft.
Even though facialists have all the most expensive and trendy skincare products at their disposal, they still swear by baking soda to better your complexion. Experts say mixing a pinch of baking soda into a brightening mask purifies your complexion and helps remove any gunk trapped in your pores.
Who knew using baking soda could be key to better cardiovascular health? According to trainer and nutrition expert Britt Brandon, “circulatory issues can lead to the possibility of serious health conditions, such as heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, and the development of various blood issues.” But mixing a teaspoon of baking soda in an eight-ounce glass of water daily may help aid in breaking down blockages by helping improve blood flow.
If you’re dealing with dandruff, Alexis Antonellis, colorist at New York’s Eddie Arthur Salon, says using the pantry staple on the scalp is a great way to exfoliate the hair and scalp. “Mix baking soda with lemon juice, scrub it in, and then be sure to rinse it out very well,” she says.
Suki Waterhouse has a super-simple (and affordable!) way she exfoliates her skin: Mixing a tiny bit of baking soda into her moisturizer. “You mush it all in and wash it off,” she said. Just be sure not to use it more than once every other week. Dermatologist Libby Rhee, DO, says its alkaline properties can “disturb the natural skin barrier and its pH-balanced properties” when used on a regular basis.
Homemade fabric softener works great when you have baking soda on hand. Simply combine two cups kosher salt with 20 to 30 drops of essential oil (if you want it scented). Then, add in 1/2 cup of baking soda. You’ll have enough fabric softener for five to 10 uses.
Garbage disposal deodorizer
With all the food that goes down your garbage disposal, it’s not uncommon for it to start to smell. Kelly Love, co-founder of Branch Basics, recommends turning on the garbage disposal and running warm water while slowly pouring baking soda down the drain. The quickie trick eliminates odors instantly.
Have trouble peeling hard-boiled eggs? Not for long. If you add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the boiling water, the shells will be easier to peel due to raising the pH levels of the eggs.
Improve digestive system
If you have issues with your digestion, Brandon recommends dissolving a teaspoon of baking soda in an eight-ounce glass of water and drinking it every morning. “It helps maintain a healthy pH balance throughout the digestive system for optimal digestion, minimized acid reflux, and healthy bowel functioning,” she says.
If you’re looking for a cleaner you can use on many different surfaces in your home, Nelson recommends using “one cup of baking soda, vegetable glycerin, a half cup of Castile soap, and, if you prefer a scent, a few drops of an essential oil of your choice.” She says it’s great for toilet bowls, sinks, bathtubs, and more.
Giving your produce a good wash before eating or cooking is a must. While you can get store-bought produce washes, the pantry staple has been found to do the best job of washing away pesticides.
Being bloated is never fun. To get rid of the discomfort, Brandon recommends adding a teaspoon of baking soda to four to six ounces of water. “By returning the pH to neutral levels, the body’s gases can be calmed and the digestive processes, acids, and enzymes can return to their natural state and foods can be broken down normally without issues and disruptions,” she says.
It’s hard to get rid of streaks after messing up when applying your self-tanner. To make them disappear in record time, head to the pantry. “A mix of baking soda and coconut oil is an easy, gentle way to exfoliate away your leftover self-tanner or spray tan without having to work too hard or strip away the skin’s natural moisture,” says Jenny Patinkin, makeup artist, beauty expert, and author of Lazy Perfection.
There’s nothing worse than getting sweat stains on your clothes. But before giving up and tossing all your white tees in the trash, try using baking soda. Combine 4 tablespoons with 1/4 cup of warm water to create a paste, then wet the stain with water and apply the paste to the area. After letting it sit for 30 to 60 minutes, rinse it off and wash it like normal.
Julia Roberts swears her megawatt smile comes from brushing her teeth with baking soda, and it does help “remove stains and whiten teeth by scrubbing the enamel surfaces with more abrasive particles,” says Inna Chern, DDS, a New York City-based dentist. But here’s the catch: Dentists also say, because it can be so abrasive, it might not be the best way to whiten your teeth. Instead, you might want to go for a store-bought toothpaste that contains baking soda. (That being said, always check in with your dentist before using anything on your teeth.)
To bring your dirty white sneakers back to their original state, grab the baking soda. First rinse your sneakers with water. Then, mix together 1 part baking soda to 1.5 parts laundry detergent and rub it into your sneakers with a toothbrush. After letting it sit overnight, rinse again, put your shoes in the washing machine with cold water, and let them air dry. Bam—fresh white sneaks.
Everyone has experienced the horrors of removing nail polish after leaving it on for a little too long. If your nails are looking a little yellow or are flaking, nail artist Madeline Poole said you can simply mix baking soda with lemon juice and toothpaste, then rub it onto your unpolished and freshly-buffed nails with a toothbrush.
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